Vatican: Pope delivers sombre message

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The Pope, 84, used his sermon to express “grave apprehension” over the continuing conflict in Iraq.

He described violence in all its forms as a “source of untold suffering”, and voiced fears about suffering in Sudan and hopes for peace in the Middle East.

As thousands sheltered from rain, the Pope spoke of “invincible confidence” about eventual peace in the Holy Land.

“I think of Africa, of the tragedy of Darfur in Sudan, of the Ivory Coast and of the Great Lakes Region” he said in his Urbi et Orbi address.

The Pope concluded: “Let there be an end to the numerous situations of unrest which risk degenerating into open conflict.

“Let there arise a firm will to seek peaceful solutions, respectful of the legitimate aspirations of individuals and peoples.”